Active Development of Patch-Type Therapeutics for Respiratory Diseases
-With the appearance of respiratory epidemics, related patent applications have also increased-
As COVID-19 spreads worldwide, bronchodilator patches* for treating bronchial disease symptoms such as coughing have been attracting attention, and related patent applications have increased significantly.
* Medicine attached to the skin for widening the bronchi to relieve symptoms such as coughing and shortness of breath
According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the number of applications for medicine delivery technologies* used in patch-type bronchodilators to alleviate the symptoms of bronchial-related diseases have gradually increased over the last 20 years (1999 to 2018) to total 316 cases.
* Technologies that control the rate at which medicines are absorbed and/or that deliver medicine efficiently to target sites
< Trend of Patent Applications Related to Patch-Type Bronchodilator >
In particular, when SARS, H1N1 and MERS, which are all transmitted through respiratory organs, were respectively spreading in 2003, 2010 and 2016, the number of applications increased significantly from 5 to 15, 12 to 30, and 18 to 32, respectively, in comparison to the prior year. Moreover, as 209 cases have been filed over the last 10 years (2009 to 2018) in Korea, a 95.3% increase from the 107 cases during the previous 10 years (1999 to 2008), this seems to reflect a growing interest by industry in patch-type therapeutics.
By applicant, foreigners filed 229 cases while Koreans filed 87 cases, so Koreans accounted for only 27.5% of applicants. However, Korean applicants filed 65 cases during the last 10 years (2009 to 2018), nearly three times more than the 22 cases during the previous 10 years. This shows that Korean industry is rapidly pursuing advances in this technology.
< Distribution of Korean Applicants of Patch-Type Bronchodilator >
Looking at the distribution of Korean applicants, in the past (1999 to 2008, 22 cases), companies led all applicants and accounted for 54.5% (12 cases) of applications filed, but over the past 10 years (2009 to 2018, 65 cases), universities accounted for 58.5% (38 cases) of filings. This trend reflects the research and development being conducted by leading universities.
Meanwhile, Hokunalin Patch (ingredient name: 'tulobuterol'), a bronchodilator that shows an effect of alleviating coughing symptoms of respiratory infections, was released in Korea in 2004, and more than 10 varieties of this patch are currently being sold due to active generic development progressing after the patent’s expiration.
Such patch-type therapeutics have the advantage of being able to easily administer medicine by attaching to the skin of patients, such as pediatric patients, who cannot ingest medicine on their own, but since side effects such as indigestion, itching and tremors can appear, these patches should only be used in accordance with a doctor's prescription.
The Chief of the Pharmacological Chemical Examination Bureau of KIPO emphasized, “In the future, respiratory-related epidemics may occur frequently and the related market size will then also increase, so research, development and investment should continue to be made to increase the effectiveness of patch-type therapeutics and to reduce side effects.”